On Christmas Eve excited children will press their faces to the windows and look up to the sky in a bid to see the jolly, round man in his red fur-trimmed suit. They will strain to hear the gentle jingle of sleigh bells as they wait (somewhat impatiently) for the big day to arrive. New Christmas pyjamas will be worn, and festive stories read by busy parents (who share the excitement but can’t wait to put their feet up and enjoy a touch of real Christmas spirit) – Vodka, Whiskey or Brandy anyone? Santa Claus is a popular fellow, but just how well do you know him? Here are a few facts that might surprise you:

There Wasn’t Always a Mrs Claus

We’ve seen pictures of Mrs Claus, with her rosy cheeks, cute red outfit and a twinkle in her eye. We picture her and Santa working together to make sure all is ready for the big present drop off, scanning the huge book to confirm who has been nice and who has been naughty. We imagine the kindly couple putting their feet up on Boxing Day and taking it easy (or jetting off to a Caribbean island for a well-deserved break)!

Mr & Mrs Claus seem like they have always been together, so it’s surprising to learn that Santa was once a confirmed bachelor! No-one thought to ask if Santa had a partner until the 19th century and in 1849 a missionary from Philadelphia called James Rees penned a story called “A Christmas Legend.” The book featured Santa… and his wife Mrs Claus. It took a while for the idea to catch on but in 1889 a poem called “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride,” was written and that too featured Mrs Claus – but this time she had a bigger part to play and drew much more attention.

Santa Hasn’t Always Worn a Red Suit

Over the years Santa has been known to wear many different colours including blue, brown, and green. It wasn’t until the early 1930’s that he started donning his famous red suit, and many attribute this to Coca-Cola.

The powerhouse brand decided Santa Claus was the perfect person to promote their much-loved soft drink, hence the red suit (designed to match the well-known Coca-Cola packaging).

Santa Had Help Devising the Chimney Delivery Method

It might surprise you to hear that Santa didn’t come up with the idea of delivering gifts via the chimney, that was the brainchild of Washington Irving (author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow). Back in 1812 Irving penned a story called “Knickerbocker’s History of New York.” The tale told of St Nicholas “rattling down the chimney,” to deliver his gifts. This sounded much more exciting than nipping in through the door or climbing through a window, after all, there’s something a little more magical about getting impossibly large gifts down the flue! Some time after Irving wrote his story another Christmas composition became popular “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” This one also involved Santa using a chimney to deliver gifts, but this time it went one step further and included flying reindeer and a sleigh.

You Can Learn to Be Just Like Santa

There’s only one true Santa Claus, but you can go to school to learn to be just like him. There you can learn all the Santa-related skills you will ever need. Find out all about toys, and how to pose for perfect pictures. The best Santa pupils can earn a lot of money by perfecting their festive skills.

You Can Invite Santa Into Your Home

The real one is too busy to make more than just a fleeting visit, but how about inviting a handcrafted and beautifully painted Santa Claus figurine to stay (permanently) in your home? Take a look at the fanciful Jim Shore figurines from Jim Shore Designs. The Heartwood Creak range features the Santa’s Around the World Collection. You can choose from Frohe Weihachten a traditional German Santa with pipe and clock. There’s also a Santa from Poland, one from Lapland, a Dutch Santa and an Irish Santa too (there are others but I think that’s enough Santa’s for now)! They are all beautifully designed and crafted, in fact we defy you to choose just one! Instead, why not set up a collection of Santa’s from every corner of the globe? You could even create your own striking Santa themed display in your home.